2012 Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge

The U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced yesterday that $133 million from the 2012 Race to the Top fund will be available for continued investments in state-level, comprehensive early education reform.  The Departments intend to fund down the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 slate and invite the next five applicants, Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin, to apply.

In 2011, 35 States, D.C. and Puerto Rico applied to RTT-ELC, creating plans that increase access to high-quality programs for children from low-income families and provide more children from birth to age 5 with a strong foundation needed to succeed in school and beyond.  In December 2011, nine states were awarded grants-California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington.

Eligibility for 2012 RTT-ELC funding was based on the strength of applications among states that participated but did not receive awards in the 2011 competition. New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, Illinois and Wisconsin each earned approximately 75% or more of total points possible on a 300-point scale in the 2011 competition. The five states will each be eligible to apply for up to 50 percent of last year’s potential award amount.

The $133 million for additional RTT-ELC state grants will come from a larger $550 million fund provided by Congress through the Department of Education’s fiscal year 2012 budget. Additional dollars from the 2012 appropriation will be used to run a new district-level Race to the Top competition. More details on the new competition will be available later this spring.

“The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) has demonstrated the dedication among states and early education and child development experts to raise the bar on early learning,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.  “Continuing to support states with 2012 funding will help build on the momentum from the 2011 competition, and engage more states in furthering their critical work to transition effective early learning programs into systems of excellence.”

For more information, please visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-earlylearningchallenge/index.html